I was checking my stats, I don’t do it often because my blog is lame :) but it’s not for your entertainment, it’s to keep my chest light. I saw my last post was on September 11th and that I did not even mention the horrible anniversary of the death of thousands. I’m pretty selfish in case you haven’t noticed by now. So let me go ahead and continue on with my selfishness or as my lovely sister, Stilla, likes to put it: [my] self-centered-ness (totally not a word but she’s kind of an idiot).
My last post was about started with secrets and how everyone has them, I am about to reveal a couple more of mine. One of my hobbies is not only pretending I have enough talent to write lame romance novels but that I also have enough talent to consider myself able to paint. During the year of 2000, I started to paint murals on my bedroom walls. It all started because I had to break up someone. He cried – A LOT. The reason was because he was a drug addict. We did coke together, smoked and drank but I didn’t know he smoked crack also. I was only 16 or so, he was 23 and yes, my parents allowed it. In fact, I met him because he was my dads co-worker. A day or so after we broke up, I was at home with mom. I had skipped school to stay with her, which was common for me. She was a pretty lonely person then and liked to let me stay home. She had just finished painting some room in the house and asked me to bring the can of black paint out to the garage for her. I carried it out there and found another can of paint; this one was a mixture somewhere between light blue and gray. I brought both cans inside and set them on the table. Mom asked me what I was doing and I told her I felt like painting my room, too. I was bored and I was having one of those should-I-have-broken-up-with-him moments. I knew it was best to break up and needed a distraction. She handed me an empty milk jug she cut it in half to use to mix the paint, “just to see.” My mom, as awful a mother and woman as she could be is actually a really supportive mom. So I mixed the colors and I got this amazing shade of gray I had ever seen. At the time, gray was my favorite color. It was as bland and boring as I felt for a very long time. I became instantly excited and disappeared into my room. I shoved my bed and all other furniture away from one wall and just went crazy with no idea why or what I was doing. The second I started painting it felt like I was finally home. I had felt lost for a very, very long time and right now it would take too long to explain all the many reasons why. I was young at the time but I felt much older with all that I had hidden inside of me.
Once I started to paint I couldn’t stop. I don’t know if you recognize the tree above but it’s the tree from Sleepy Hollow; it looks awful, I know this. Anyway, I painted not only every wall in that room but also the ceiling, the inside of my closet, the inside of the closet door and even the front of my bedroom door.
I had a blast and aside from my kids those murals are probably some of the proudest creations I ever made. I just loved it that much. I painted for two years. I skipped school just to paint my room. I painted naked sometimes because it was so freeing. I painted stoned, I went days with little sleep because I was so obsessed. I skipped meals. I lost friends and ignored family. I did have this one friend that stayed by my side the whole time. He’d come over, roll up some herbage and watch movies while I painted. We rarely talked the whole time. He said he just liked to watch me get lost in my work. He lives with my sister now; they’re engaged.
On September 10, 2001, I stayed up all night and into the next morning. This was my life now because I had graduated high school and had no job. I did chores and odd jobs for mom and dad to pay for paint, brushes, towels and even a silly apron with front pockets (I ruined all my pants from wiping my brushes on them; I needed that apron). My room was never arranged anymore because I needed my walls free to dry and I used my dresser and bedside table as ladders to reach certain areas of wall and ceiling. I stacked things on cans of paint instead of my dresser top; I smelled like paint and I was always sweating…best two years of my life.
September 11, 2001, I had fallen asleep naked after painting until my eyes couldn’t stay open. It was a deep sleep. I had been asleep only a couple of hours when a loud scream, bang and clapping woke me up. It was mom, she was in a panic and didn’t notice my door was wide open and I was now exposed to dad who stood in the hall with his eyes going from me to the TV.
WE’RE UNDER ATTACK GET UP, Kt, GET UP
Can you imagine? I had no idea what she was talking about. Us? Under attack? Yeah, right! America? The big, the bold, the beautifully arrogant and privileged…even the poor, under attack? Psssh. Wake me when you can stop playing with me, I have walls to paint.
Seriously, come see the news, it’s on right now. We are under attack! They are bombing us!!!
If you don’t recall, they thought we were being bombed. Then I did one of the few most regrettable things in my life: I applauded. I applauded. I laughed and I said very simply and matter-of-factly:
I hated our country even though I understood so little about our country, our politics, the world around us and how others viewed us. All I knew was that Bush was the Devil and America was full of his minions following him blindly and I didn’t even know why! Sadly, I was insanely ignorant but maybe I wasn’t? I still hate Bush, I think our past foreign policies are unforgivable and I can’t stand our arrogance even though I am one of the most arrogant people I know.
Finally, after rolling around in bed for a little bit, I got up to check out the news mom wanted me to see as proof of this unbelievable event. I threw on a crappy t-shirt and made my way down the short hallway to the living room. I was still groggy, over-tired and in distress over being woken up so harshly. As I stared at the news, watching as the second plane slammed into the second tower, my disbelief slowly turned to shock and horror. My anger, aimed at my mother, slowly redirected itself and headed towards me as I listened to the news anchor (unfortunately it was FOX News; curse my dad and his Christain-connected political beliefs!) began to tell us in detail what was happening on the ground. We switched channels to get different views and camera angles. We listened to anchors and phone calls from witnesses as they described the scene at what quickly became known as Ground Zero.
It was devastating. Big clouds of black and gray smoke mixed with orange and red angry flames rose out of the towers. Paper and metal floated and fell. You could hear screams in the background as people on phones continued to detail what they were witnessing live. Helicopter cameras caught streams of people scrambling every which way with no idea of what was happening or where to go. The confusion was unmistakable, the panic in the voices of those doing interviews and being interviewed was indisputable, the fear could be felt through the screen, it was palpable no matter how many thousands of miles separated us. You could taste the metal in your mouth and feel the smoke filling up your skull even though you had never experienced anything remotely similar to what these people were going through IN THAT MOMENT while we watched helplessly and frozen from the comfort of our homes. We felt as if we were as scared as those we watched become doused with gray smoke, dust and asbestos even though there is no way that fear could be comparable to people like us who were a very safe distance away.
We watched as the news told us the ground shook with fear, as they told us people were jumping in hopes the air suffocated them on the way down; it would be a welcomed death compared to what awaited them inside those buildings if they tried to escape. It hurt to watch, to listen, to hear all that we were seeing. It was incredible. We watched as each building slowly began to lean then crumble almost as if it had been deliberate and calculated. We listened to the anchors tell us with confusion that building 7 was falling and no one knew why. We watched red and blue lights try to shine through the plumes of smoke. We watched as people emerged with dust-covered faces. It’s cold but I somehow smile inside as I still compare the sight of those faces to that of the boy from The Sandlot after the vacuum exploded in a failed attempt to rescue Babe’s ball from The Beast . It’s not funny, none of it is or was ever funny.
I watched the news for days, I read every paper and article I could get my hands on before I cut them out and meticulously pasted them to a piece of construction paper I poked holes in before placing them in a 3-ring binder. Little by little, the articles turned from horror laced with information to racism and hatred aimed at those with heads wrapped in “towels.” And then even those full-length articles slowly dwindled into narrow columns and eventually small paragraphs at the back of the paper…until we declared war.
So, here’s my other secret: I’m not a religious person, that’s not the secret but there’s more. I’ve had my ‘religious’ experiences, I’ve had my moments of spiritual enlightenment over the years and even before 9/11. I have listened to my inner voice and felt a part of me rise when I think of some place a large portion of the world’s population call Heaven and I felt that same part become heavy when I fear I may end up in a place called Hell. I won’t speculate whether or not those places exist and I won’t go on about my actual beliefs but I will tell you this, I consider myself agnostic. I am not atheist and I don’t believe declaring myself agnostic is splitting hairs as some of my atheist friends have claimed.
Where’s the secret, right? I’ve been “agnostic” for a very long time but there has always been this…thing rooted in me that ties me to religion. I can’t escape it, I don’t know what it is or where it comes from. I grew up without religion in my life but we had traditional holidays that follow along with Catholic traditions. We didn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve, for instance. Mom always said that was a Catholic thing, I have no idea if it is or not. I tried to be more spiritual than religious when I was younger. I like to think the Earth is something more deserving of our respect than some deity in the sky. I like to think that people are good because they are born good-natured and not because a book bound in leather and written in gold threatens them with an eternity of Hell fire unless they don’t sin. But there are things that I do that I can’t help and when I don’t do them I am filled with guilt regardless of my beliefs and this is why I still declare myself agnostic.
Every time I walk into a church, I have to fight back tears. Every time I see a helicopter coming in to land at the Children’s hospital, I cross myself and say something similar to a prayer without the ‘amen.’ Every time I see 9-11 appear together be it on a clock, a register, wherever, I had a bit of a ritual: I would knock on wood three times, the right side of my head above my ear three times and then on wood three times again. Krank Ficken always said this would ward off bad luck; maybe it won’t bring good luck but no luck is better than bad luck, eh? I’d cross myself and say something similar to a prayer for those we lost on that horribly tragic day. I’d do this no matter where I was. When I worked retail and the register told me the total or change due was $9.11, I’d do these things or feel riddled with guilt for not doing it. I no longer do this ‘ritual.’
Karma exists and I have many reasons as to why I believe she is around us, watching and waiting to strike. 9/11 is one of my reasons why I believe she exists. I never should have applauded, I never should have laughed and said “good.” In March of 2011, I had a migraine wake me, it wasn’t uncommon; especially at that time in my life. They were unforgiving and common for me. And they always attacked me in the same spot: right above my right ear. This morning, in March, I awoke sometime after 9 in the morning. I masturbated to get rid of my headache. Within ten minutes of my second orgasm I was on the floor paralyzed. Karma had struck me and she hit me hard; I mean hard. Once I was able to begin gathering my thoughts in a more normal manner days later, one of the first things I would think of clearly is my initial response to the 9/11 attack. I I felt I knew that every time I knocked wood and my head, I was pushing myself deeper into Karma’s suffocatingly tight embrace. My stroke, my ruptured AVM, it took place precisely where I would ‘pray’ for those lost lives. Maybe it’s coincidence, it’s quite likely, maybe it really was karma or maybe it was ‘God’ that decided it was time I learn my lesson. I don’t know but that is my selfish connection to 9/11. It all ties in together for me. I deserved a good bitch slap from karma and I don’t despise her for giving it to me but I damn sure have a deeper sense of respect for her.
No matter how much you disagree with a person, a country, a set of beliefs or ideologies, wishing or applauding harm on them is not the answer.
Let us never forget.